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Old 08-10-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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Help me make it another 6 months (long)

I've exclusively breastfed/pumped for 6 months. I'm beat.

I posted on here a little while ago saying that I thought my supply was low, and the responses were all supportive and mostly said my supply was fine. Well if it was fine then it doesn't feel fine now. Last month I was getting 4 ounces during a pump session... now it's down to 2/session, even pumping for 40 minutes. I look at videos of my baby, I turn down the lights, I mellow out. It just feels like there's nothing there anymore, and when I let down it's obviously less milk than before. I also used to get a couple let-downs per pumping or feeding session, now it's one and empty. Oh and I took some dumb advice I read online and turned the suction way up. I had always pumped with the lowest suction possible, but then when I started to worry about supply I read online that I should have it on the highest setting I can stand. Now my nipples are killing me and it's like my body has gone on the defensive and won't let down unless it's for a shop-vac attached to a jet engine.

So now I'm trying supplements, on top of nursing while home, co-sleeping part of the night, and pumping at least 3 times at work. I'm taking brewer's yeast, milk thistle (I know blessed thistle is better but I can't find it anywhere and KellyMom.com lists milk thistle too), and some gross tea that is supposed to help. I smell like an old lady fresh from a brewery tour.

What's really frustrating me is that I work full time, so when I'm with babe to nurse he's so happy to see me that he will not nurse! He latches for 2 seconds then stares at me lovingly. I know it's also that age, and it's so adorable I could cry, but OMG please just nurse so that my entire breastfeeding relationship isn't limited to a couple flanges! He eats 12-15 ounces of pumped milk when I'm gone (don't know how I will get that this week, pumping 7 ounces in a day), but when I'm home it seems like he's barely eating anything, he can't possibly be getting more than 8 ounces the whole day! How is he not crazy crying and screaming??? It's Friday and I'm realizing that tomorrow I'm going to have to nurse-pump-nurse-pump-nurse-pump all day if I want any hope of maintaining.

Uuuugh! *end*

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:27 PM   #2
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Re: Help me make it another 6 months (long)

I don't have much experience pumping so don't know how much help I will be. However when I was pumping for my second child I also turned the suction up high. Instead of the desired effect of increasing my milk supply the pain decreased my milk supply. I had to back off and let my nipples heal while using the pump on the lowest setting. Also can you rent an infant scale? As baby gets more experience nursing he can get a lot in a short time. You can try weighing before and after he nurses. I wouldn't change diapers before the second weighing either. The weight will tell you if he is actually getting enough to eat. This way you know for sure if you are having a problem.


Now my nipples are killing me and it's like my body has gone on the defensive and won't let down unless it's for a shop-vac attached to a jet engine. I think this is an accurate discription of what your body has done. Lower the suction to where you are comfortable. Your body may take a bit to recover but if this is the only problem it will happen and your milk supply will increase.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenn.mcc
I've exclusively breastfed/pumped for 6 months. I'm beat.

I posted on here a little while ago saying that I thought my supply was low, and the responses were all supportive and mostly said my supply was fine. Well if it was fine then it doesn't feel fine now. Last month I was getting 4 ounces during a pump session... now it's down to 2/session, even pumping for 40 minutes. I look at videos of my baby, I turn down the lights, I mellow out. It just feels like there's nothing there anymore, and when I let down it's obviously less milk than before. I also used to get a couple let-downs per pumping or feeding session, now it's one and empty. Oh and I took some dumb advice I read online and turned the suction way up. I had always pumped with the lowest suction possible, but then when I started to worry about supply I read online that I should have it on the highest setting I can stand. Now my nipples are killing me and it's like my body has gone on the defensive and won't let down unless it's for a shop-vac attached to a jet engine.

So now I'm trying supplements, on top of nursing while home, co-sleeping part of the night, and pumping at least 3 times at work. I'm taking brewer's yeast, milk thistle (I know blessed thistle is better but I can't find it anywhere and KellyMom.com lists milk thistle too), and some gross tea that is supposed to help. I smell like an old lady fresh from a brewery tour.

What's really frustrating me is that I work full time, so when I'm with babe to nurse he's so happy to see me that he will not nurse! He latches for 2 seconds then stares at me lovingly. I know it's also that age, and it's so adorable I could cry, but OMG please just nurse so that my entire breastfeeding relationship isn't limited to a couple flanges! He eats 12-15 ounces of pumped milk when I'm gone (don't know how I will get that this week, pumping 7 ounces in a day), but when I'm home it seems like he's barely eating anything, he can't possibly be getting more than 8 ounces the whole day! How is he not crazy crying and screaming??? It's Friday and I'm realizing that tomorrow I'm going to have to nurse-pump-nurse-pump-nurse-pump all day if I want any hope of maintaining.

Uuuugh! *end*
I could have written this post myself. In fact, I checked to see if I did, haha,

I've been nursing and pumping for almost 7 months so I'm not expert. I pump 3x per day at work, Less than 4 ounces per session. My son eats 15-20 ounces while I'm gone.

Some things I do:
-take mothers milk every day
-drink motherslove(?) tea on days I pump
-eat oatmeal every day
-nurse baby at least twice between waking and leaving him (usually 4:30 and 5:45)
-nurse as soon as I get home even if he's not "hungry"
-try to pump for a minute or so before each feeding at home-supposed to increase supply because baby is nursing more
-nurse as much as I can before he goes to bed then co-sleep a few nights a week to let him nurse more

I was lucky enough to have a sister that produced way too much milk. Like thousands of ounces extra. I used her milk for a couple of days so I could build my stash. I wasn't stressed about about making enough to feed the baby the next day so I pumped more than usual. Now I usually have at least 2-3 days extra milk frozen.

When I pump, I usually kick off my heels, put on music or little videos of the baby on my phone and kind of zone out. I've tried focusing on "feeding" my baby but zoning out helps me not stress and produce more milk. I tried all different combos of speed and suction. I usually start fast and low suction then switch to harder suction more slowly. I also use a handsfree pump Bra so I can massage my breasts while pumping.

From my iPhone, probably while BF'ing.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:42 AM   #4
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I had to change the membranes on my pump. Made a world of difference!
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #5
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Re: Help me make it another 6 months (long)

You also have to remember that after 6 months babies will take in less milk in a 24 hr period so your supply could very well be perfect. I say if you continue to nurse when with your baby and always offer the breast when waking up at night especially thru a growth spurt your supply will stay up. Having someone look at your pump would be a good idea too just to make sure the suction is good and no parts need replacing. Trying not to stress will help also. Your doing a fantastic job, keep it up and make short term goals! You got this mama!
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: Help me make it another 6 months (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaBeGreen2011 View Post
I could have written this post myself. In fact, I checked to see if I did, haha,

I've been nursing and pumping for almost 7 months so I'm not expert. I pump 3x per day at work, Less than 4 ounces per session. My son eats 15-20 ounces while I'm gone.

Some things I do:
-take mothers milk every day
-drink motherslove(?) tea on days I pump
-eat oatmeal every day
-nurse baby at least twice between waking and leaving him (usually 4:30 and 5:45)
-nurse as soon as I get home even if he's not "hungry"
-try to pump for a minute or so before each feeding at home-supposed to increase supply because baby is nursing more
-nurse as much as I can before he goes to bed then co-sleep a few nights a week to let him nurse more.
It's nice to know someone can relate, and that's good advice, though sadly I've tried most of it.

This weekend has been daily crying for me because for 2 days now I pump and pump and get nothing. No let down. No milk. The one breast that used to give me 4 ounces in a sitting hasn't produced a single drop when pumping today. I'm still able to nurse, but pumping is just a painful waste of time all of a sudden. Part of it, I think, is that I borrowed a friend's electric double-pump and left my hospital-grade double-pump at the office. I just can't use electric pumps apparently, this is the second one I've tried and it's just disastrous.

So I'm left with just nursing to increase my supply, unfortunately my baby hates co-sleeping. He will not sleep if we're in the same bed, he just rolls around hitting us and grunting/screaming until I give up and put him in his crib, where he immediately goes to sleep. I've tried giving him space in the bed, but he just doesn't like it and fusses non-stop until he's back in his crib. He would also sleep 7 hours straight it were up to him. So my only option to night nurse is to set an alarm for myself to get up every 2-3 hours, get him awake enough to nurse (not pleasant, he wants to sleep), then put him back in his bed and repeat 3 more times until morning.

I'm at the end of my rope. I can't afford $400 for a refurbished hospital-grade pump (new the one I currently rent is $1,400... but I can't keep lugging this huge thing back and forth every single day and get only a few ounces.

I'm going to try calling my insurance company and asking if they'll cover a second pump for home or something. I don't mind paying to rent the one, but renting 2 is $110 a month. I'm just so sick of this.

Last edited by Palooka; 08-12-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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Fenugreek and blessed thistle worked great for me when I was pumpin for my oldest. There's a website I got them on and it was actually cheaper even with shipping than runnin all over town trying to find it. It's iherb.com. Also I tried the mothers milk tea and it did nothing for me. That being said if baby seems fine then it's probably nothin to worry about. Hope it gets better!
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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Re: Help me make it another 6 months (long)

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Help me make it another 6 months (long)

this is how i felt with my son, i pumped until he was 10 months. i was never able to produce enough to provide what he needed the next day, my freezer stash was non-existent because my maternity leave was just insane (colicky, constantly nursing baby, and other stressful non-baby related things) and i never had extra. i wasn't able to pump on weekends with him. for many reasons i won't even go into. it was really really frustrating. in fact, i can only get 4 oz in one session if i'm super engorged. i have one breast that will give me 2 oz, sometimes a little more, usually a little less. the other one produces 1 oz. no matter how long i pump or how long it's been since i pumped/nursed. this morning, first thing, i pumped at 6:30am after not nursing since 10:30pm last night (baby slept long, usually i expect her to be up several times during the night). i was HUGELY engorged on that side. but nope, just 1 oz. i know the milk is there, i still felt painfully full, but it just.won't.come.out. anyways, i dunno. i've tried all the things you've mentioned, none of them really made a difference for me. except cutting out my morning cup of coffee. which seems to have gained me an extra oz per day. that's big for me, so i miss my coffee, but had to let it go

all that said, my son got some formula and as much breastmilk as i could pump for that whole time. plus, he nursed at night and in the morning, and just fine on weekends with no supplementation. i figured, he was getting a very very small amount of formula, so it made me feel better. by the time i had to wean him, he would often just nurse for like maybe a minute or 2 at time sometimes too! i thought surely he wasn't getting anything! and he was down to just 1 feeding at night, and occasionally if he woke up. but i was hugely engorged for a week or more when i cut out that last feeding. i think he was clearly getting a LOT more than i thought. so those super short feedings your baby is doing are actually giving him more milk than you think.

now with my dd i'm engaged in the same battle again, and probably losing i managed to build up a freezer stash this time over maternity leave. but it just ran out last friday. i pumped like a mad woman over the weekend so i have enough to get me through maybe until wednesday this week. i pump more often at home this time around too so i've been a LITTLE better at keeping up with her. but it seems as soon as i catch up, daycare tells me that she needs more. they're probably overfeeding her, but i've spoken with them repeatedly and they act like i'm crazy and tell me she NEEDS it and how can i deny her food? so, it's not happening. anyways, i have no answers. i'll be sending bottles with at least some formula by the end of this week i suspect. but you're not alone. it's frustrating. it probably doesn't help to be told this, but really, stressing about it will only make let down harder to achieve and your milk output worse. so just try not to stress, and know that no matter WHAT you pump, you are doing your very best
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:14 PM   #10
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Re: Help me make it another 6 months (long)

Thanks mamas. It's true that the more I stress the less I get. It's so frustrating.

What's more, my insurance won't cover a pump unless it's "a medical necessity," which I was told includes "poor latch" and "engorgement." So you're telling me if I stay home all day with my baby, but my baby doesn't latch or I have too much milk, then I get a pump to use at home... but if I'm working and can't be home with my baby, then he doesn't get breast milk at all. WTF!?!? That is the stupidest double standard, as if my baby doesn't deserve milk because he's stuck with a working mom. So, so mad, but going to keep making calls until I can get this fixed. I'm certain that having a GOOD hospital-grade pump at home and another at work will get me through this for a few more months. *Fingers crossed*
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